Photographer Chris Hytha ventures to the tops of historic skyscrapers by way of drone photography. A recent architecture school graduate, his love of buildings is reflected in his images, and they highlight incredible façades created over a century ago. Hytha focuses his drone on the final floors leading to the structure's spire. In doing so, he showcases sculptures that sit atop it as well as the gilding and signage that makes the skyscraper an iconic part of a city skyline.
Hytha’s initial idea was to document historic high rises. At first, he thought to photograph them from adjacent rooftops, but that would be too logistically challenging. “Another direction I put some thought into is photographing from a helicopter with a telephoto lens,” he explains to My Modern Met, “but the costs would be tremendous.” A drone, he realized, would get him the type of shots he wanted.
The ensuing photographs allow us to fully appreciate the design and construction of these towering edifices. But capturing these aspects was made challenging because of the drone. “There are two problems that arose once I decided to use a drone for the project,” Hytha explains. “My DJI Air 2S can only shoot in landscape orientation, but the high-rise images must be vertical, and the resolution of a drone image is not enough to truly celebrate the intricate details atop these buildings.”
Hytha developed an approach to solve the issues he faced. “The high-rise images are created by scanning the building façade with images at each floor level, then manually stitching the series of landscape images into one vertical composition,” he shares. “This technique is time-consuming but well worth it for the extra sharpness and resolution it provides! One of the side effects of this method is the flattening of perspective, making the images almost like an orthographic architectural elevation.”
To learn more about Hytha’s method, check out his Twitter thread detailing the endeavor. Scroll down to see the results of this laborious—but well-worth it—process.